So here it goes.. With the arrival of May, I am sitting at my desk, looking out the window and feeling totally uninspired. Having only just been back from a short but exciting getaway to Athens with my best friend, I expected to be feeling refreshed, enthusiastic about life and eager to find out what my next adventure will be. Instead, I’m finding myself feeling bored and demotivated, almost as if I’m in a ‘numb’ state of mind. Nothing seems to be interesting to me nor giving me those positive vibes.
Isn’t May supposed to bring new starts? Last time this year I was full of energy, blogging about interesting topics such as ‘Your recipe for success at work’, planning my life ahead and setting goals for myself. It seems to be that I am going through a creative block and I’m struggling to overcome it.
Normally, I break out of these situations! I usually come up with a new concept for a photoshoot, I tirelessly work on my website, or book another trip to a new destination. Well, guess what? I’ve done all three and I still feel stuck. Two words pop into my head: Uh oh!
With the hope that May might surprise me, turn my mood around and bring some last minute exciting changes, I’ve decided that I am going to distract myself in the meantime and occupy my mind with useful activities until my inspiration and creativity strike back again. If you have ideas or advice on how I can knock down this creative wall I’ve hit, please drop me a message or comment on this blog. I’d really love to hear what you have to say.
Here’s what I plan to do anyway:
I know Spring officially arrived in March, but it’s only just now starting to feel like Spring to me, so I’m going to be doing some ‘Spring Cleaning’. Those of you who know me, know that I love to clean and tidy up. Spring cleaning has been said to originate from the Iranian Nowruz (the Persian New Year), which falls on the first day of Spring. Iranians continue the practice of ‘khooneh tekouni’ which literally means “shaking the house” just before the Persian new year. Truth be told, I find cleaning extremely therapeutic, so I’ll be escaping reality for a while at home doing my chores. Swapping around my winter clothes for my summer clothes or getting rid of anything that I no longer use or that no longer serves me, kind of feels like I am also decluttering my mind and putting things back in order.
For those of you who hate cleaning, I recommend you try ‘cleaning like a monk’. In Zen Temples, monks are assigned to carry out specific cleaning tasks (known as ‘soji’) every day for twenty minutes. Monks are required to fully immerse themselves silently in their jobs, and once the time is up, they stop working – whether they have completed the job or not – and continue with their day. Pick a corner to clean, try staying focused without getting distracted by irrelevant thoughts, and within 20 minutes you’ll find yourself feeling a little more productive, organised and possibly feeling like you want to clean some more. For me, there’s nothing better than feeling that I am living in a neat, clean, ordered space that serves my needs and makes me feel good about myself. In the words of Nate Berkus, ‘Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love, all brought together under one roof’.
Talking about clean and tidy homes, another way to help yourself re-energize and re-boost, is by giving yourself some time to rest. We all want to lead full and busy lives, that include being involved in fun projects, attending social gatherings, meeting up with friends ad family and much more. In fact, sometimes our home becomes a crash pad for sleeping. Any chance we get to sit down and appreciate the home we’ve made for ourselves, is often interrupted by cold calls, neighbours unexpectedly popping by for a chat or the daunting to-do-lists hanging over our heads. I can guilt trip myself so badly every time I know that I have something to do or complete, and instead I chose to ignore it and procrastinate on YouTube or Instagram (Don’t roll your eyes, we’ve all been there).
So, I highly recommend a ‘mindful home retreat’ or ‘Strategic Relaxation’ as one of my dearest friends calls it, to enjoy the comforts of your own space and enjoy some respite. There’s no need to book a weekend getaway for some time out. You can save those pennies and opt out for a true ‘Staycation’.
All you need to do is choose a day to clear out from any appointments or commitments, switch off your phone and spend your time carrying out ‘mindful activities’. These can be anything such as reading a book, painting, gardening, cooking your favourite meal, taking a long bath, writing or anything else that gives you pleasure and that you’ve been promising yourself you would do. Remember that it is important to totally switch off and carry out each activity with full awareness, allowing your body and mind to enjoy each moment that passes.
Taking time to reflect and clear the mind enables us to hear our thoughts and listen to what is truly in our hearts. Often our own voice is drowned out by the noise of the world around us. So much so, we may find we start to follow or even copy the ideas, goals and dreams of others. Especially now we are living in a world where the Internet and Social Media have become so influential, having some time of peace and quiet, technology-free, can enable us to hear what’s happening within. It can also help us to follow our own creative path rather than other people’s journeys. This may sound like a cliché, but I’ve come to realise that this really is the truth: ‘It is not what is on the surface that counts, it’s what resides within’. Our alone time at home, gives us the time and space, to shape and mould our individual personalities, interests and lifestyles. The place we call home is somewhere where we can truly be ourselves, recollect our thoughts, project how we see ourselves in the future and plan our next moves.
I will definitely try to put into practice all of the above and hopefully after this retreat, my mood and inspiration will return before the end of the month! I’m still hoping that May will be the month to take my breath away. In the meantime, you can find me tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside, in the haven I call my home.